UK ‘Losing Patience’ On Arms Exports

UK ‘Losing Patience’ On Arms Exports

Farnborough Air Show – The United Kingdom, regarded by most as America’s closest ally, is pressing hard for improvements to the laws and regulations governing U.S. arms exports.

In an exclusive interview with DoD Buzz, the head of America’s most powerful defense and aerospace lobby, Marion Blakey, said Britain’s defense secretary made his country’s feelings on the subject very clear here. “It’s been three years [since the arms export treaty with Britain was proposed]. At this point we are losing patience,” she says he told her. Pass the treaty, “if you want our soldiers to stand with yours and have the right technology.” Blakey spoke with Fox Sunday night at a dinner for senior U.S. government and industry officials.

For several years a treaty that would ease the sale of weapons between the U.S. and the U.K. has wandered in the peculiar desert where treaties languish in the Senate. Blakey said there is a window this summer during which the treaty could get passed, but she did not sound very confident that it would. Several efforts over the last decade to make the arms export system more flexible, more transparent and more efficient have effected some change, but nowhere near enough to satisfy either the U.S. defense industry or America’s allies.

The Obama administration recently launched a wholesale effort to change the system and Blakey said the allies are encouraged by this. Change, Blakey noted, is needed to encourage allies investing in systems such as the Joint Strike Fighter. But as Fox made clear, there are limits to the patience of even our closest allies.

Join the Conversation

Except for their commitment to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (which they couldn’t afford to develop), why would the Brits want to buy anything American? They support maintaining a British industrial base for defense goods (ships, combat vehicles, small arms, C4I, etc.), no matter how small the sales are. So, why do we (or they) care about an export agreement? They just want to be a sales agent for American defense goods and collect a commission?

Pass the treaty, “if you want our soldiers to stand with yours and have the right technology.”

So this brit is linking progress with the treaty to continued support in Afghanistan? Is this why DOD bent over backwards in the tanker competition to allow EADS to compete…continued support from our “allies”? So now we have to buy their support?

I recall an incident awhile back where a terrorist was expatriated from the UK to Libya to pacify Qadaffi. Ostensibly, this was for humanitarian reasons, but those have now been exposed as a sham and pretense. This duplicity is rewarded with business deals between UK companies and Libya.

Perhaps we need to re-examine our role in NATO? The treaty still has its uses, but our level of commitment should be reassessed.

I am guessing she probably meant to say “if you want our soldiers to have the right technology when standing with yours” not “we are backing out of Afghanistan if you do not give us the right technology.”

Either way she said it, the point is clear, “we should support our allies.”

@Taxpayer Britain is large enough to buy but not always large enough to develope. There are many system we produce that they’d like. The current export system is incredibly difficult to work through that’s why they want this easier agreement passed. Another area of difficulty is sometimer the Brits want US to manufacture their design but even thats restricted by the laws. If they want to be sales agents for the US, that is fine by me, in the long run it is only to our benefit.

BAE has been complaining for ages about US restrictions. They sell to all sorts of regimes and feel stymied that they cant on-sell US technology. Now with the decline of the US and lucrative Chinese market growing exponentially pressure can be applied to open up.

No Western defense companies in their right mind are going to sell to the Chinese giving their habit of copying and producing their own models of anything the Russians have sold them.

Explains US panic every time the Europeans suggest lifting the Chinese arms embargo. Particularly since the collapse in the US economy means they cant wave around defense contracts anymore.
In this case it would be US technology that BAE would be sending over, since the US wont be buying it best to sell it to the Chinese.

A couple of comments here if I may, the UK Government is well known for supporting almost everyone except the UK Industrial base, ask BAE Systems. Nobody’s “robbing” anybody of anything with this request, the same requests apply to people like Australia, Canada, etc. As another corrspondent comments WHY would the USA care if the UK sold off Arms packages to other parties, commission or not? The UK is not the French or the Italians both of whom have, or are in the process of, selling Arms packages to Russia. BAE with the largest presence in the USA is NEVER going to sell to anyone the USA doesn’t want them to sell to; ever heard of the expression “cut your nose off to spite your face”?

Assuming it works similarly to the Canadian exemptions, implementation of the new treaty will allow for exports to Great Britain without the need for a license for certain Defense Articles. However, it will NOT allow for re-export, which means that exports to China would still require a license… And since the DoS rarely approves licenses to China, good luck with that.
Frankly, China’s been stealing so much technology recently that they may not need to buy it anymore.

In theory, I agree with your sentiment. It’s disheartening that our government is so willing to give EADS a “level” playing field despite the WTO ruling. Another point that people don’t discuss is the fact that the EU doesn’t offer the same “level” playing fields… There was no competition for the A400 or the Eurofighter, for some glaring examples; the contracts were simply awarded to EADS because EADS is partially owned by those governments.

That said, I believe that the UK is one of our best allies. Only Canada and Australia have gone to war with us as often as the UK. They share intelligence and technologies far more readily than we do. And worst of all, when we share technology witht hem, we always hold back critical pieces. Our government should learn that we’re no longer the sole distributor of technologies in the free world, and that we must share with our allies.

Remember what your parents always told you… If you want a friend, you have to be a friend.

as a soldier , who has worked with US forces we found it annoying/ dangerous that our US allies could see better at night through better Gen NVG’s. And we werent allowed to buy these due to restrictions. Although I’m sure there are bigger implications this is all I care about. I belive the reporter ment , you want us to help you , sell us the best equipment to aid our troops ! thats how i see it, from experiance.

EeeeeGad… Experience teaches us that whenever the UK could gain the upper hand financially or otherwise they did! No matter who was hurt by their actions. Arms suppliers are regularly based out of the UK and for the most part have always been. Merc’s thrive through this venue. I know bad word but it is true. Soldier for hire, arms for sale and ordnance to boot! You got the money we can get you the goods — your friendly and prolific UK arms dealer…
Maintain good relations with our allies, yes, but NOT at the expense of our personal freedoms!

While the UK has ‘gone to war with us’ often, they chose to do so because the UK Government decided that participating in a particular war was in the national security interests of the UK. It really has nothing to do with friendship and everything to do with national security interests. While individual relationships can and are strong and deep, Governments do no have friends they have interests. We as Americans all too often forget that point. We also tend to forget that we have gone to war with the UK as often was we have the Germans.

We are essentially struggling to define the relationship among the English-speaking nations, bound together by deep ties of language, culture, and history. This group of nations, led by America, the UK, Canada, and Australia, has been referred to as the “Anglosphere,” and defined by James C. Bennett as “a network civilization without a corresponding political form”.
Just as the US has an extremely close and emotional relationship with Israel, a willingness to go to any lengths to safeguard that nation, so we have the same relationship with the other Anglosphere nations. This has been a practical fact for the past century.
I would view any technology-sharing or arms agreements in that light.
In short, it’s clearly understood that these nations are our best friends on earth, and for this reason, they should get our best support, period. The rest is just details for the governments to work out.

Let’s provide what our allies needed.

many DOD companies have international transactions with the UK. Whether the origination of the product is in the UK or the product is developed in the US, the integration onto bigger platforms is very stymied. We can’t get the best technologies onto our aircraft and other systems because the financial burden is too high implementing the State departments controls that are very restricitive. And vica versa we cant get our products onto their platforms that they need because state takes forever for a determination to be in a position to bid and recieve proposal information in a timely manner to respond.

The trade treaty essentially would treat the UK as a partner with the same goals of outfitting each others forces with the best of the best. The senators have been woried about re-transfers that the UK has adressed very sufficiently. Its now just politics of posturing.

Our loss actually as taxpayers to the mutual defense of both our countries.


NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2015 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.